Proverbs 16:23 The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent,
and their lips promote instruction.[c]
24 Gracious words are a honeycomb,
sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
25 There is a way that appears to be right,
but in the end it leads to death.
26 The appetite of laborers works for them;
their hunger drives them on.
27 A scoundrel plots evil,
and on their lips it is like a scorching fire.
28 A perverse person stirs up conflict,
and a gossip separates close friends.
29 A violent person entices their neighbor
and leads them down a path that is not good.
30 Whoever winks with their eye is plotting perversity;
whoever purses their lips is bent on evil.
Let’s talk about our not-so-nice relatives. We all have them. They are the ones that try to hurt you by saying ugly things to you, or by completely ignoring you.
How do we respond to these people that keep knifing us with their words and actions? How do we keep our Christianity and not lose our sanctification while dealing with these ugly-hearted people? By loving them. Yes, I know, ugh.
Notice, I didn’t say liking them, I said loving them. Loving is a command, liking is not. Loving means saying “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.” Of course, in the natural, they know exactly what they are doing, but they do not know how it grieves the Holy Spirit when they do this, and how it is harming their own soul.
Most of them are speaking out of fear, pride, bitterness and ignorance. Perhaps you threaten them in some way, perhaps by taking their child away from them in marriage, and their life and purpose lost its meaning when that happened. Perhaps by cutting you down to size, they make themselves feel better and more important. Perhaps they were badly hurt before and are simply taking it out on you. Others are simply ignorant of ideas and ways that are unfamiliar to them, and they cannot accept what they do not know and understand.
In either way, we can see them as ugly, spiteful people, or we can see them for who they are – creations of God whom the Father loves and wants to be saved and reconciled to Him. Jesus didn’t come to save the saints but the sinners, not the good but the bad. He is the doctor who can heal what these mean family members are ailing from. That’s why it is so important to focus on speaking and acting in love toward them, despite what they do.
It can’t be done in your own strength, but must be done through the Spirit. You have to spend time alone with Jesus, worshiping and praising Him, letting Him love on you so you are built up and sure of your value in Him. No man can take that value away.
So while the scoundrels, perverse and violent people speak against you, show that you have the heart of the wise and the mouth of the prudent. Gracious words can bring healing to these people who live in their own private hell made from past experiences that we may never know about. Let the Spirit love on them through you, and when you have responded in love, you will know that the Father is looking on you lovingly, saying “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Questions for the day:
1. Who do you struggle with?
2. What do they do that hurts you?
3. What plan of action will allow you to be loving and kind in response? How can you be prepared?